Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Following up on last week's post, Brian Tamanaha: Law Schools Lose by Winning Lawsuits Brought by Former Students: Reuters: Law Schools Owe Students Truth About Job Market:
Law schools owe
prospective students the truth about job prospects. Goosing
graduates' employment statistics isn't illegal, several courts
have ruled. But it's shameful nonetheless. With work scarce and
tuition soaring, lawyer wannabes deserve better.
The dozen or so suits filed by recent law grads assert
essentially the same claim: that fierce competition for students
has prompted schools to exaggerate how many alums find work nine
months after graduation. A whopping 59 of 143 institutions in
the 2012 U.S. News and World Report rankings claimed employment
rates of more than 90%.
Left unsaid is that the figures typically include non-legal,
part-time and temporary work. Some schools even hire graduates
themselves or pay firms to do so. That's fraud, the suits argue,
because applicants reasonably assume the schools are talking
about full-time jobs requiring a law degree. Otherwise, many of
them might reconsider whether a three-year education costing
more than $120,000 was worth it.
Courts have been unsympathetic. ... The courts may be correct that, legally, schools can't be
held liable for phony job figures. But ethically, it should be a
different story. Caveat emptor makes for a lousy law school
(Hat Tip: Staci Zaretsky.)